The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of March 20, 2018

Irises, 1700s

Six-panel folding screen, ink and color on gilded paper, Image: 152.8 x 361.2 cm (60 1/8 x 142 3/16 in.); Overall: 168.8 x 373.2 cm (66 7/16 x 146 7/8 in.); Closed: 170.8 x 64.5 x 12 cm (67 3/16 x 25 3/8 x 4 11/16 in.); Panel: 164.8 x 62.3 cm (64 7/8 x 24 1/2 in.); with frame: 168.8 x 377.2 cm (66 7/16 x 148 . Gift of The Norweb Foundation 1954.603.2

The subject of this painting comes from a 10th-century narrative poem. It tells of a young nobleman's journey into the distant countryside, far from the cluttered environment of the capital (Kyoto). There he came upon a small stream, the banks of which were covered with blooming iris plants. A simple eight-plank bridge allowed travelers to admire the beauty of this natural site. While viewing the beautiful flowers the nobleman composed a poem: I have a beloved wife, Familiar as the skirt of a well-worn robe, And so this distant journeying Fills my heart with grief. Earlier compositions depicting this scene included the wooden footbridge, supports and flower stalks. Here the artist has allowed the imagination of the viewer to "fill in" the scene.

signed and sealed lower right of the first panel from the right.

Chiba, Japan. Chiba City Museum of Art. October 1-November 1996. "The Legacy of Japanese Art" cat. no.153, p. 184.
The Cleveland Museum of Art; 7/15/01-8/12/01 (1st of 2 rotations). "Unfolding Beauty: Japanese Screens from the Cleveland Museum of Art."
The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (8/21/2004 - 10/3/2004): "Rimpa"

The Cleveland Museum of Art (06/28/2009 - 08/30/2009): "Streams and Mountains Without End: Asian Art and the Legacy of Sherman E. Lee at the Cleveland Museum of Art"

Cleveland Museum of Art (organizer). Tokyo National Museum (1/15/2014 - 2/23/2014) and Kyushu National Museum (7/8/2014 - 8/31/2014): "Admired from Afar: Masterworks of Japanese Painting from the Cleveland Museum of Art", cat. no. 41, p. 122-123.

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